**Q: What is the addition of Romeo (Crennel) mean?**
B: Since the season ended we have been trying to improve in any way we can here. We have spent quite a bit of time trying to evaluate our own players, some college players, some pro players and also in terms of the coaching staff. We have been as diligent as we could since the end of the season and I think that bringing Romeo in as our defensive coordinator, we definitely got better today. I have a tremendous amount of respect for Romeo and a lot of trust in him. Our relationship goes back about twenty years to 1981 when he first came to the Giants when Ray Perkins was the head coach and I was there as an assistant. We have worked pretty closely on and off since that time in a couple of different organizations, three different organizations. It is a close personal relationship and it is a close professional relationship. People talk about my defensive system and that, but he is a guy that, really nobody has worked more closely with me than Romeo has. We have been through an awful lot of games, practices, meetings and all of those types of things together and of all the people that I have worked with I think really that I have more history with him then anyone else and it is a great feeling to know that he is coming here.
Q: He must share your philosophy, but does he do things any differently than you do them?
B: Romeo is a guy that has coached a long time and he has got a coaching style that I think is very effective. We are not the same person, but we get along well together. I think that he will certainly bring his own unique approach into coaching the defense and coaching the defensive players and it is one that every place I have been has been well-received by the players and by the organization.
Q: Why did you decide to relinquish the defensive coordinator role, you are noted for formulating defenses that have stopped some of the best offenses in the league and you are sort of giving that up now, why?
B: As I said Romeo and I have worked together for a long time. It is not my defense, there were a lot of people that were involved in the defenses that I was involved in. As I said through the years no one played a bigger part in them then Romeo, whether it be the Giants, the Patriots, the Jets, wherever it was. Even when we weren't together we maintained an off the field relationship and a professional relationship where we kept abreast of what each other was doing. I feel very confident and I know philosophically we have a lot in common, I have tremendous confidence in him and the job that he does with players and I know that we will work well together. He and Eric (Mangini) have worked together also and Romeo has worked with Randy (Melvin) as well with the Jets so I think that he is a real familiar addition to our staff. In terms of the rest of the defensive staff, Pepper Johnson is going to coach the inside linebackers this year. Of course he has a long history with Romeo, fifteen years back to 1986, Rob (Ryan) is going to coach the outside linebackers and Eric (Mangini) is going to stay in the secondary. So I think that there are a lot of ways you can improve your team and I think we have made a good addition today.
Q: Did you come to the realization that is difficult in today's game to be the head coach and a coordinator at the same time because we saw the two coaches in the Super Bowl they relinquished theirs at some point, does that have anything to do with it?
B: I did a lot less of that as the year went on last year. As I said one of the main things I wanted to do last year was get our system into place and I think we did that. As the year went on I became a little less involved in the mechanics and some of the day-to-day and minute-to-minute type of things that go on that a coordinator would handle. Again I feel very confident with Romeo because of our background together, his background and system, I think that he will be very effective handling all of the different duties that come along with it.
Q: It seemed like Eric Mangini seemed to be doing more of that for you last year. Is this a little bit of a setback for him?
B: No, I don't look at it that way at all. I look at Romeo as a good addition to our staff and I think that Eric brings a lot of things in terms of experience to the staff and to the team and to the position that he coaches and I know that he'll continue to do that. He and Romeo have worked together before and I think that they have a good working relationship and I'm sure that will continue. I think that all of our coaches will contribute. Surely we can use a good one with experience like Romeo brings.
Q: Normally teams don't like changing coordinators, I know (Drew) Bledsoe talked about that earlier. Is the transition here going to be a little bit easier because of your knowing Romeo so well and his knowing the system, will the transition be easier for the players?
B: I think the overall transition will, there really won't be much at all. Our system is going to remain very similar to what it was. The foundation of it, the game plans and so forth will be adjusted on a weekly basis based on what we're facing, but in terms of terminology and basic philosophy and emphasis on defense, things that are important to having a good team on the defensive side of the ball, those types of things will continue to be emphasized because I know Romeo and I are philosophically the same on that.
Q: How did this work officially, Romeo was still under contract with the Browns. Was he told he could look for a job? Was he released? How did that work?
B: Yesterday we requested permission to talk to him and we received it and made contact today.
Q: Do you anticipate any more changes to the staff or is it pretty much going into next season?
B: I didn't anticipate necessarily making this one because a week or so ago Romeo was being talked about as a potential candidate in Cleveland. I was certainly pulling for him on a personal level, because I think he's worthy of that type of job so things kind of changed there pretty quickly when they announced a new coach. That situation changed in a hurry. It's hard to say what will or won't turn out. We'll just have to wait and see. I don't anticipate anything at this time, but we'll just wait and see.
Q: What do you think Romeo will add that wasn't there a year ago? What, besides another mind, do you think his influence will be? Why will you guys be better?
B: I think just having another coach that is experienced in our system. Romeo again, we've coached together 20 years, we've been through a ton of situations together in this system. The more information you can get to the players and the more little things you can cover so that when they happen in the game the more efficient you'll be. Romeo, through the course of his career, has done a great job of developing younger defensive linemen. We have a number of those on our team, and linebackers, even a couple of younger linebackers that will be involved in pass rush type situations and those things. He's done a great job of developing those guys through the course of his career. I think that's something that you can't do too much of in this day because of the way the system set up. It's a great asset to have a coach that can develop young players.
**Q: Bill, since he does such a great job of developing these younger defensive linemen is that a little bit of a hint of what your draft strategy going to be?**
B: It's a little early to get into draft strategy now. What we're trying to do is go through the all-star games and go through the new juniors who have just recently declared. All of the scouts are in and they've looked through, we're going through reports and having meetings on all of the players. I've probably looked at about 100 guys myself, but I still feel like I'm a long way off from knowing the draft like I need to know it. I think it is way too early to commit to any type of strategy. I think right now, we just want to try to get the information in place, evaluate the players, the combine won't be coming up until the end of the month in Indianapolis. Then we can start to zero in on the people once we know everybody a little bit better. I'm sure that we'll be interested in defensive linemen, like we are every year, especially this year. We've got two unrestricted free agents and we don't know if we'll have them back or not. There could be openings there that we'll need to fill. You can never have too many defensive linemen.
Q: Can you fill us in on how some of those talks are going with some of those players including Drew (Bledsoe)?
B: Nothing really new to report on Drew. I've spoken with Chad (Eaton), nothing really new to report there. You know how those contract negotiations go, you feel like you're close and things don't get done. Or you can feel like you're far apart and then all of a sudden in a short period of time they come together. I couldn't really characterize anything as being on the doorstep or imminent. It's a priority for us to try to re-sign our own players, but at the same time we can't over-commit to them to the point where we feel like it takes away our ability to strengthen our team in other areas. So we just have to try to balance that out. I can tell you that we're working hard at trying to get those contracts done, but like everybody else they have to fall in at certain structure from a team standpoint. At this point that hasn't happened. We did sign Brad Costello, I think that was announced a day or two ago. We're plugging along.
Q: At what point did you decide you wanted a coordinator? You've been defensive coordinator for so long now even as head coach and as an assistant. Was it before you took the job with the Patriots? Did it happen during the season? What point did you realize that this was something you wanted to do?
B: I said that since the day I got here that I would have a role on the defense and as time went on that I would try to move away from the role as the main guy on the defense to be more effective in the role as the head coach. That would happen when the system got installed and was in place. It happened about midway through the season that that situation occurred and I started to pull back from it a little bit in the 2000 season. As I said, last week, Romeo was being talked about as a candidate for the Cleveland job and I didn't really give too much thought at all to the possibility that he might be available. As the situation unfolded in a few days, there was a turn of events that I don't know anyone could really forecast and the way it worked out, fortunately we were able to come together. Those types of things can happen in a hurry. It really wasn't planned and it all came up fairly quickly. It was an easy one to evaluate because of our history and what we've been able to do together.
Q: Bill, can you comment on the club's attempts to retrieve Ty Law's bonus?
B: That whole situation is one that is a process. The collective bargaining agreement is in place between management and the players and there's a certain set of rules and procedures to be followed on different issues. This is a procedure that's in the process of being worked out. I'm sure that whatever happens will be the result of a fair process that has already been bargained. Really that's about all I can say about it.
Q: Are you concerned about a problem with Ty over this? His attitude, etc.?
B: I've talked to Ty. I've talked to him several times since the end of the season. Like I said, it's a process that eventually will work itself out. That's the structure. All players and teams have to abide by the same thing. Like I said, I've talked to Ty, I feel like we have a good relationship as far as player-to-coach relationship. Other things, we'll just have to see how it plays out. I talked to him today and I think that as long as we have a good line of communication we'll be able to come to some type of an understanding of where we are.
Q: Bill you talked about evaluating your coaches, and the system and players. I wonder in your own mind in evaluating your own system, did you find that your overall burden was being enhanced to a degree as the season went on and some of that defensive coordinator job was less of a burden on you?
B: I think it was a combination of things, it wasn't so much of something being a burden or not being a burden it was more trying to evaluate the situation as I came into it and having a plan to work through it. Again on the defensive staff Eric Mangini and I worked together in New York and the other coaches we really hadn't worked together much. It was a new system and Eric had helped me in New York but he hadn't been the secondary coach so I thought it was important for me at the beginning when I got here to try to work with everybody to implement the system. Once that was done then I have enough confidence in the coaches and the staff that collectively we can pull it together and organize things in an efficient way so the players have a good plan and can play effectively. That has really been the plan all the way. As a head coach there are a lot of things that you have to take a look at and in the end you do what you think is best for the team. I felt like at that point in time that's what I needed to do and that was the best thing for the team. As time goes on here I think that I can be more effective and the staff has been able to grow into a little different situation then we were in twelve months ago.
**Q: There has also been some persistent talk that there are people who think you need more help in the personnel department. Do you feel that is necessary or under what circumstances would you add somebody to accompany you and Scott Pioli?**
B: I am not sure who exactly those people are that you are talking about, but what we are doing right now as a scouting staff is the coaches have been out and they have seen some of the players in the all-star game. Larry Cook and Lionel Vital our two main national scouts have cross-checked the country and re-cross-checked and all of our area scouts have seen all of the players in their area and we are in the process of reporting on all of those guys. Then in addition to that we have broken all of the college players up by position so that each guy just looks at one position. So there are a variety of crosschecks with a number of the area scouts, with Larry and Lionel, with Scott and from the coaches who have been to the different bowl games. Of course they don't have as much exposure to the college players as the scouts do, but I think that process is well under way. We have implemented a new grading system and kind of an organizational system which I think is going very well and we are trying to balance with Scott and Andre (Tippett) and a couple of the other pro scouts in terms of evaluating the pro free agents which is coming up in March. I think we have accumulated a lot of information, I think now between the personnel department and input from the coaches that we need to start digesting that information and start to formulate a plan on what is the best way to attack things and basically that is what we are doing.
Q: When you spoke with Ty (Law) today what was his posture? Was it one of disbelief, anger?
B: No I wouldn't characterize it that way. It was a conversation like I have had many times with Ty before. We talked about a number of different things. Ty has recently had shoulder surgery and he was coming back in for a check-up in that and we talked a little bit about that and just trying to have a little bit of a plan for the off-season program. Everybody, players and coaches, everybody in the organization is trying to focus toward the 2001 season with major improvement and the vision for all of us. Every time we have talked, every time I talk to players or coaches, or we talk organizationally that's how it is. Ty knows how I feel about the situation, we talked about the incident in December and we are moving on from that.
Q: If he is like his agent who has intimated that, "he feels he didn't do anything wrong" is that what you get when you talk to Ty, that he didn't do anything wrong?
B: Again Ty and I have talked about the situation in December, we have talked about it several times since then. What his agent is saying and what his agent's position is and all of that, you would have to talk to his agent about. I have talked to Ty and like I said Ty and I continue to have communication in the main thing of him getting better, us getting better and the Patriots winning more and that is really what it is all about.
Q: Are you an advocate of the organization's counter grievance against Ty and the only reason I ask this is because last year you awarded Terry Glenn back the money he was fined by your predecessor Pete Carroll for a different circumstance?
B: The Terry Glenn situation is a totally different situation. When I got here the fine against Terry Glenn, or the discipline, had already been executed and I wasn't a part of that and I really didn't have any information at all to take a position on it one way or the other. The coaches that were involved in that were no longer a part of the organization and the other people in the organization didn't really have much knowledge as to the real specifics of what happened in that particular incident or incidents, whatever it was. It really was a situation that I couldn't have much comment on one way or another. The people in the organization weren't directly involved with it one way or the other and there was a little bit of, I would say a lack of concrete facts or information about how to pursue the whole situation. So rather than get into something that nobody had a really good handle on how to deal with it, again because of the coaching change and so forth, my determination was that it was better just to go ahead and move on from that rather than to try to put a lot of time into something that I really wasn't familiar with. Just generally on player conduct, what I have told the players, and I have told them this on a continual basis, is that they are responsible for their conduct. They are also responsible for the people that they are around with and if they hang around in places or with people that act irresponsibly then eventually they are going to get caught in a situation that is not going to be favorable to them. If they keep putting themselves in those situations, sooner or later it might not happen every time, it might only happen one time, but sooner or later there will be some type of situation that will have repercussions or consequences that will effect them negatively. That is really the best advice that I could give the players. They all know how I feel about that because I have said it to them over and over again and that is my generally philosophy on player conduct.
Q: It sounds like you are taking the stance that you are going to deal with Ty as coach/player and you are going to let Bob Kraft and Andy Wasynczuk take care of all of the other stuff. Is that accurate?
B: Well no I think organizationally there is a process. There is a way to deal with certain situations that come up in the National Football League, it is under the collective bargaining agreement. The position of the organization is the position of the organization. The position of the players or the players association that's what it is. I have been involved in this process before and my involvement, I am involved to a certain extent because I played a certain part in the whole incident that happened in December, but there is a process that is involved and everybody that is involved is following what is in that process. Mr. Kraft is very serious about our players having a solid image both to represent our football team and the community and I stand behind that 100 percent. Whatever course the process takes it has already been bargained and legislated on and that is the course it will take. I can't change that stuff. I tried a little bit on that last year to make some changes there in terms of the NFL rules and all, but that is really not my bag.